02 September, 2011

Which one: Diaspora* or Google+?

For those who like social net-working, there are now two more new services competing for your attention. You can join either only by being 'invited'. There is Google's, Google Plus (released to the public to millions, about a month ago - and still growing fast) and there is the open source Diaspora Alpha (released to the public to a very few, about seven months ago - but they have taken rather too long sending out 'invites' and they still have very few people using it.). Both, in response to the many complaints against Facebook, are very particular and focused on 'privacy'. Especially, Diaspora.

Diaspora and Google Plus

The biggest difference between the two is that Google Plus, has the might of Google and all its technological and financial resources; while Diaspora has to rely on four very young college students, volunteers and donations. And there is the name: 'Google Plus' which sounds very 'plus' and inviting; while 'Diaspora' sounds rather dull, unoriginal and not that trans-formative. Interestingly, there is one main similarity in the two: Diaspora has 'Aspects' which is very similar to Google Plus's 'Circles'. Most likely, one of the two has been stealing sharing using and imitating ideas from the other. Both 'Aspects' and 'Circles' allow you to filter your friends, family, work associates etc. - into groups so you can choose what you share with each and with whom you want.

One thing that has to be said about the present competition between - Diaspora, Google Plus and Facebook, is that each will push the other to satisfy customers better. The 'spurning' and the 'pushing' for more security, independence and privacy - will most likely be lead by the independent, non-commercial Diaspora. Diaspora promises to let users control their own information and allow them to take any of their data whenever they want and use them wherever they want; they promise to 'reinvent the social web' by creating a service that can connect with everything else around it. They promise too, not to have any advertisements.

If Diaspora wants to catch up, they have to send the 'invites' fast; they have been rather slow in doing that. Wanting to test and try alternate social-networking services and maybe find one that would be useful to me, I signed up for a Diaspora 'invite' months ago; I had completely forgotten about it and a few days ago I received my 'invite' to join Diaspora. I am now one of a very few people (about 100,000 worldwide) trying Diaspora. The problem is: I am already trying Google Plus which I have been using for some weeks now. And which I like but, so far, am not using much. I now do not know what to do with Diaspora; I cannot go about 'inviting' the same people I have on Google Plus to Diaspora.

For some reason, Facebook - which has been very unreceptive of Google Plus - allows Diaspora to easily link to them and install an 'app' which then allows you to easily 'invite' who you want from Facebook. In appearance, Diaspora is simple, more minimalist and Facebook like; while, Google Plus is sleek and more user friendly. There is one more similarity between the two: the symbols * = +. For either, before you continue using them, it is best to look very closely at the settings and options offered; especially, for sharing. In both, it is very easy using the settings; and deleting your account is very easy to.

Being an open source product, Diaspora is supposed to evolve faster and become better and richer with time. Can it compete with Facebook and Google Plus? It is like asking: has Apple competed well against Microsoft and Google? According to numbers, Apple has failed - but, according to those who use Apple, they say it makes better products and is the best. Just like: for those very few who use the Ubuntu Operating System, they say - it is the best. For some, already, they say 'Diaspora' is way ahead. Diaspora, could be like Apple and Ubuntu: for mavericks and the adventurous. And, maybe, the young, college students in particular, will give Diaspora the same kind of strong support they gave Facebook at its beginning.

+ Diaspora Blog
+ Introducing Google Plus
+ The Google Plus Ripple